American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

Here at ACE, we’re committed to ensuring our education and exams evolve with the health and fitness industry. Beginning July 1, 2018, a new Exam Content Outline for the ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam will go live. The changes are minor, but they will better equip you to get the relevant, science-based education you need to be competitive in the industry. With this update, you will also be better prepared to help clients achieve sustainable, healthy behaviors.

How has the exam content outline changed? The domain names and the percentage breakdown for each domain have changed minimally:


Previous Exam Content Outline Domain Breakdown

NEW Exam Content Outline Domain Breakdown (as of July 1, 2018)

Domain I

Client Interviews and Assessments – 31%

Interviews and Assessments – 23%

Domain II

Program Design and Implementation – 33%

Program Design and Implementation – 31%

Domain III

Program Progression and Modification – 19%

Program Modification and Progression – 26%

Domain IV

Professional Conduct, Safety, and Risk Management – 17%

Professional Conduct, Safety, and Risk Management – 20%

Additionally, the associated task, knowledge and skill statements for each domain have been updated to reflect the current role of a Personal Trainer.

Why has the Exam Content Outline changed?

These changes to the Exam Content Outline are being made to reflect the current personal training industry, as the industry has evolved since the last Exam Content Outline was updated 5 years ago.  

Can I still use the ACE Personal Trainer Manual and associated study materials to prepare for the exam?

Yes. If you own the 4th or 5th edition of the Personal Trainer Manual and associated materials, you can successfully prepare for the ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam.

When will the exam change to reflect the new Exam Content Outline?

The exam will change to reflect the new Exam Content Outline on July 1, 2018. New questions are rotated into ACE Certification Exams on a regular basis each year. This is something ACE does with all four certification programs.

What changes have been made to the prerequisites?

The prerequisites for this certification will remain the same and are as follows:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have completed high school (or the equivalent)
  • Hold a current CPR/AED certification with a live skills check (at time of registration)
  • Be able to present a current government-issued photo ID with signature at your exam site

In summary, you can still prepare for and have success on the ACE Personal Trainer certification exam using the 4th or 5th edition of the ACE Personal Trainer Manual and associated materials. Continue with your current study plan using all print and online study materials that you purchased, including any practice tests. Once you feel prepared for the exam and a career as a personal trainer, log into your My ACE Account to register for your examination. If your study materials include an exam voucher, you will want to make sure that you redeem the voucher and register for a future exam before it expires. You will need to have current CPR/AED information in your My ACE Account in order to register for the examination.

Do you still have questions about the exam or your preparation? ACE Answers, our self-serve resource center, offers a wide range of online study tools. Get your questions answered when you access our Facebook community, live webinars, live virtual study groups, exam prep blog and more.

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